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Friday, 10 February 2012

Bank Note


Development of the banknote began with the Chinese T'ang Dynasty of (618-907AD) with local issues of paper currency, but it wasn't until 1661 that a bank (Stockholms Banco of Sweden) issued banknotes.

By 960 the Song Dynasty, short of copper for striking coins, issued the first generally circulating paper money.

A Yuan dynasty printing plate and banknote with Chinese and Mongol words.

One of the oddities which struck Marco Polo most forcibly during his travels in the Far East was the use of bank notes. The Italian gave a fascinating description of government officials stamping the notes with a cinnabar seal.

The term "bank note" comes from the notes of the bank ("nota di banco") and dates from the 14th century.

The first banknotes in Europe were issued by the Swedish bank Stockholms Banco.on July 15, 1661.These banknotes became popular very quickly simply as they were much easier to carry than the large copper daler, especially for making large payments (a note could be sent in an envelope - previously the large coins had to be transported by horse and cart).

The first paper money in Europe, issued by the Stockholms Banco 

The colony of Massachusetts issued the first paper money in America on February 3, 1690. It was a temporary experiment of banknote issue carried out by Sir William Phips as the Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay to help fund the war effort against France.

The Bank of England issued the first one-pound and two-pound banknotes on March 2, 1797. They were introduced after a series of runs on the bank caused by the French Revolutionary War drained its bullion reserves and forced it to use paper instead.

Joseph Bramah (1748-1814) was a very prolific inventor, best known for coming up with the hydraulic press. In 1806 he invented a machine for printing bank-notes with sequential serial numbers.

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) was concerned about a proposal by Robert Peel's government banning the circulation of all notes below £5 in Scotland, (a law had recently been passed banning them in England), which would have meant the disappearance of the much loved Scottish £1 note. So he wrote a series of letters, called the letters of Malachi Malagrowther, which were published in the Edinburgh Weekly News in 1826, that stressed the importance of Scottish banknotes as part of the Scottish financial system and as an example of Scottish identity. Sir Walter generated such a furore that the government was forced to back down and to this day portraits of him appear on the front of all notes issued by the Bank of Scotland.

Andrew Jackson, who appears on the U.S. twenty-dollar bill, was hugely opposed to paper money.

The Green Ink used in American currency was invented by a Canadian in 1857. Using chromium trioxide, it is difficult to reproduce by counterfeiters and cannot be destroyed by acid.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury first issued paper U.S. currency on March 10, 1862 to make up for the shortage of coins and to finance the U.S. Civil War.  The denominations available were $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000.

By the end of the U.S. Civil War, 33 percent of all U.S. paper currency in circulation was counterfeit. This was a devastating situation for a nation struggling to recover economically from such a destructive war. On July 5, 1865, the Secret Service was created as a part of the Department of the Treasury to help suppress counterfeit currency.

The 1896 silver certificate series of American banknotes, also known as the Educational Series (see below), depicted various allegorical motifs and are considered by some numismatists to be the most beautiful monetary designs ever produced by the United States. They were redeemable for their face value of silver dollar coins.

This $2 banknote features the motif Science presenting steam and electricity to Commerce and Manufacture, designed by Edwin H. Blashfield, on its obverse. On the reverse are portraits of Robert Fulton and Samuel Morse. Wiki commons

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US government overprinted banknotes to have the word ‘Hawaii’ marked on them. In case of a Japanese Invasion, the US could immediately declare any Hawaii-stamped notes worthless, due to their easy identification.

The phrase "In God we trust" was first used on US paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the phrase entered circulation on October 1, 1957.

The world's largest paper banknote, the 100,000 Peso, issued by the Philippines treasury in 1998  to celebrate the centenary of the country's independence from Spain, has an area of 119 square inches.


Paper money is not made from wood pulp but from cotton. This means that it will not disintegrate as fast if it is put in the laundry

Dollar bills are made of 75% cotton, and 25% linen.

American dollar bills are nicknamed greenbacks after the notes Abraham Lincoln had printed to finance the Civil War - black on the front and green on the back.

Massachusetts-based paper company Crane & Co. has been producing the paper for all the American notes since 1879. Founder Stephan Crane was making paper long before the American Revolution.

Only four women have appeared on British banknotes: Queen Elizabeth II, Florence Nightingale, prison reformer Elizabeth Fry and the symbol of the country's national identity, Britannia.

Martha Washington in the only woman whose portrait has ever appeared on a US currency note. Her portrait was on the face of the $1 silver certificate issues of 1886 and 1891, and on the back of the $1 silver certificate of 1896.

In 1932, when a shortage of cash occurred in Tenino, USA, notes were made out of wood for a brief period. They came in $1, $5 and $10 values.

Five people have been depicted on U.S. currency during their lifetime. Abraham Lincoln was portrayed on the 1861 $10 Demand Note; Salmon Chase, Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury, approved his own portrait for the 1862 $1 Legal Tender Note; Winfield Scott was depicted on Interest Bearing Notes during the early 1860s; and Francis Spinner and Spencer Clark both approved the use of their own image on fractional currency.

The Tower of Independence clock on the back of a U.S. $100 dollar bill shows the time as 4:10.

A U.S. dollar bill is .0043 inches thick. It takes 233 dollar bills to make a stack one inch high.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank, the $100 bill has an average life span of 15 years,  the $1 bill lasts an average of 5.9 years, the $5 bill averages 4.9 years of use, the $10 bill gets 4.2 years, the $20 bill lasts 7.7 years and the $50 stays strong for about 3.7 years.

A ripped dollar bill still has its face value, as long as the remaining piece is larger than half.

The words 'United States of America ' appear 12 times on every US bank note.

An estimated two-thirds of all US $100 bills are held outside the US.

On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament building is an American flag.

Canada had to alter their $5 note to make Wilfrid Laurier look less like Spock, the Star Trek character portrayed by Leonard Nimoy.

An example of "Spocking" using a portrait of Laurier from 1907, a similar portrait to the one used on the Canadian $5-bill.

The printing of British £1,000 notes was discontinued in 1943.

The ten-shilling note was officially withdrawn by the Bank of England in 1970.

Traces of cocaine were found on 99% of UK bank notes in a survey in London in 2000.

The reason the portrait of Winston Churchill looks grumpy on the £5 note, is because the photographer had just snatched the cigar out of Churchill's mouth.

When euro notes were issued in 2002, tests in Germany showed that they could survive being washed and spun dry but ironing ruined them.

If you cut an Australian bank note in half, each of those halves are legal tender worth half the face value of the note.

To be legal, prop money for films must be one-sided and less than 75% or more than 150% of the size of a real banknote.

A flu virus can survive on most surfaces for only 48 hours, but can live on a bank-note for 17 days.

A notaphile collects bank notes.


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